Filing taxes can be a hassle, but you don’t have to do it alone. The Marshall County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program can help you, for free, with your returns for the 2019 tax year and answer any questions.
Beginning in late January, dozens of trained volunteers from RSVP will be available at various locations in both Marshall and Jackson counties to help people of all ages prepare and file their federal and Alabama tax returns.
RSVP has offered free accredited tax assistance to the people of Marshall County for nearly 25 years. Executive Director Jean Ann Moon says the goal of the program is to give local residents access to quality tax help without having to pay a tax preparer.
“People sometimes think that if something is free it has no value,” she says. “But in this area, the average tax return for someone who goes to a paid preparer is $275. I know most families need that money for food, transportation, clothing or shelter. There’s no point in them paying to get it when they don’t have to.”
How can they help?
The IRS and the Alabama Department of Revenue are encouraging everyone to file their taxes electronically this year, and the RSVP can assist members in filing for free at any of the volunteer locations listed herein.
When you arrive, one of the volunteers will help you file an electronic tax return. If you are filing a joint return, both spouses must sign the return before it can be processed. If you owe money, electronic filing allows you to file your return the day it is prepared, but you have until the April 15 due date to mail the tax payment. If you are receiving a refund, it can be processed more quickly by having the funds directly deposited into your bank account or even multiple accounts, such as checking, savings and retirement savings accounts.
Volunteers will also be available to answer any tax questions over the phone on Feb. 3, 10 and 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 256-571-7734.
More than 50 RSVP volunteers will assist with tax returns at five locations throughout Marshall County. Each volunteer has completed an IRS training course in basic income tax preparation for the relevant forms and will be able to alert taxpayers to special credits and deductions they may be eligible for, such as earned income, child tax, senior tax, child care or education credits, and medical savings accounts, among others.
Volunteer locations do not take appointments. All assistance is given in order of first come, first served, and tax preparation is handled in strict confidence.
What should I bring?
You will not be able to complete your tax return without:
Social Security cards for each family member (Since the new Medicare cards do not use Social Security numbers, you will no longer be able to use them for proof of your number. You must bring your Social Security card this year.)
W-2s, 1099s and other income forms
Proof of health insurance for every person on your return (Form 1095)
2018 federal and state tax returns
Child care provider name, address and tax ID if children are in day care
Blank check (for bank routing and account number verification) for direct deposit
Driver’s license or equivalent Photo ID for taxpayer and for spouse if joint return
To itemize deductions, bring a list of your medical, mortgage interest, contributions and miscellaneous expenses and a list of any taxes you’ve paid. These will still be valuable on your Alabama return even if you do not have enough to itemize on your federal return.
Where can I go for free tax help?
Guntersville Rec Center
Jan. 28-April 9
9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday (no new returns April 9)
Scottsboro Recreation Complex
Jan. 23-April 9
9 a.m.-4 p.m.